Before their tour of Sri Lanka commenced, the spotlight was entirely in Australia as it was thought that Steve Smith’s vibrant unit could dominate the hosts in their own backyard. However, barely a few weeks later, all that optimism has gone down the drain after successive losses at Kandy and Galle. With the series already gone and Australia losing to Sri Lanka in a series for the first time, the third test only presents an opportunity for the Kangaroos to salvage some pride.

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Opener Joe Burns has had a forgettable outing in Sri Lanka so far, as he has been completely at sea against spin. Despite getting a couple of starts, Burns has failed to make his chances count in this part of the globe. After a fantastic series in New Zealand, expectations were high from Burns, who was rather disappointed.

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The right-handed opener, though, is seeking these tests as a challenge. “I’m not really one to be in or out of form,” Burns. “For me, every innings is different. I just try to focus on making sure I’m not making those same mistakes over and over. And in a place like a subcontinent, there’re so many things that you can learn from the experience that you don’t really worry about form, it’s about executing different game plans and developing different skills.”

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Admitting this tour as a learning curve in his career, Burns added, “When you grow up, you learn a game, you play all your domestic cricket in Australia.” “Some guys are lucky enough to play in the IPL or in County cricket and you get a taste of different experiences. I guess the courage comes when you’re asked to change your game in the cut-throat environment of the pressure-cooker that is international cricket. It does take courage.”

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Explaining the significance of a big score in the final game of the series, Burns added, “It would mean a hell of a lot.” “The series has gone now, but you’re playing for your country. There’s so much pride to play for in the third Test, not just for the country but as a group. We’ve gone through a little bit of a tough time. But if we can turn it around and put in a good performance, it would be huge. I know all the boys are extremely motivated.”